10 Questions with ... Brian Oake & Keri Noble
May 28, 2012
BRIEF CAREER SYNOPSIS:
- 94-97 mornings on WREV (REV105, Revolution Radio)/Minneapolis
- '97-01 morning on WGVX (ZONE 105)/Minneapolis
- '01-'12 afternoons on KTVZ (Cities97)/Minneapolis
From Detroit but now live in Minneapolis. I am a piano-driven singer/songwriter whose passion and penchant for living life on my own terms radiates from my music. I have released four albums; my song "Emily" has appeared on "Grey's Anatomy;" and Kelly Clarkson has recorded my song "If No One Will Listen".
1. Brian, how has it been for you to make the transition to doing mornings?
Oake: Well, I actually began my career, almost 19 years ago, doing mornings. And I continued to do mornings for seven years. However, I grew VERY comfortable doing afternoons on Cities97 for the last 11 years. Getting up at 4a is never NOT terrible! But I don't remember ever having this much fun doing mornings. I love the show, I love the station, and I'm particularly fond of my co-host, Keri Noble.
2. Keri, how does a musician adapt to getting up before the sun does?
Noble: I've always enjoyed getting up "early" (that used to mean 8-9ish). But, honestly, (and I say okay.
Don't get me wrong; it's definitely an adjustment! I get up between 3:45 and 4a, and am at the station by 5:15a. I'm technically done with work before most of my friends have even opened their eyes! That's kind of weird. Also, my social life has changed pretty dramatically. I now TOTALLY get the idea of a weekend. I used to work so much on the weekends, that weekdays were the easy ones. Now, I live for Fridays and Saturdays! I guess what I'm saying is that my life now parallels my grandmother's!
I'm still doing music, though. The balance is pretty wonderful. I'm grateful for the opportunity to have a freaking sweet day job, while still being able to write and perform. I feel pretty lucky.
3. What's the dynamic you two are striving for on the morning show?
Noble: I'm just trying to not mess it up and make Oake sorry he signed on with a rookie like me!
Oake: Don't listen to her. Keri has better radio instincts than any "rookie" has a right to.
Noble: Seriously, I think that we both want to create a morning show that's authentic and organic. We're not trying to do crazy bells and whistles. We're trying to create a morning show that we would want to listen to ... one that's focused on the music first (providing stories and interesting insights into Cities97 artists), what's happening in the Twin Cities, and the big stories of the day. All the while, of course, I'm trying to flap the unflappable Brian Oake!
Oake: Cities97 has ALWAYS been about the music, but people can't live on music alone; we want to reflect popular culture and the attitudes and concerns on our community. Hopefully, it'll come off smart and just a little bit funny.
4. Brian, obviously you want personality interplay, but the focus is still on the music, right?
Oake: Cities97 has always prided itself on our artist-friendly attitude and our commitment to the music. A good example would be that we are generally more concerned with who produced a given artist's album, as opposed to whom they might be dating or whether they're wearing boxers or briefs.
5. Brian, I understand you will continue to do Oake on the Water and other signature events you are part of. Tell us about that?
Oake: This summer is gonna be crazy! Obviously, we have a brand new morning show, and we don't want to lose the significant momentum that Keri and I have built. However, it is also the 10th anniversary of Oake on the Water, our signature summer series. So, at least for this summer, I'll actually be doing both.
Over the last decade, I've also been the host for the vast majority of our Studio C performances. And I told our PD, Lauren MacLeash, that I'd be willing to move to mornings, but I still wanted to have a hand in the Studio C performances and interviews. Maybe because it is literally my favorite part of my job.
Some of those duties will now be shared, but Keri and I will still have a presence in the majority of these artist's performances.
And, of course, I will continue to do my Sunday night show, "Freedom Rock," an hour of independent, imported and new releases. I've been doing it for 15 years and i can't imagine ever giving that up.
6. Keri, I assume you will continue to pursue your musical career in addition to doing radio?
Noble: Absolutely! The beautiful thing about being an artist is that you are ALWAYS an artist. It's not really a choice. It's part of your DNA. So, I'll still continue to write, record and perform. That won't ever change.
The beauty of this specific situation, and the only reason I was open to making such a huge change in my life, was because I was getting burned out of being on the road all the time. I wanted a life. I wanted some structure. Now, I have the best of both worlds: I can be more selective when it comes to accepting gigs, because I have a safety net with radio. But, at the same time, creating music will always be my heart.
7. Cities97 has tremendous heritage in the market. What does the station personally signify for each of you?
Noble: I moved to Minneapolis from Detroit 10 years ago. I discovered Cities97 and fell in love with it. We didn't have a station like this back home. There's a reason why it is so loved by the community: It gives back in tremendous ways, exposes the listeners to music they may not otherwise hear, while never being "too cool" or talking down to anyone. Cities97 is like your friend's bigger brother or sister, who's totally approachable, but happens to know a lot about music that you don't already know, while always being willing and happy to share with you.
Oake: Everything that's great about this station and everything that it means to this community can be seen in our annual charity CD, the Cities97 Sampler. It exemplifies the great artists that Cities97 is known for and has always featured. It's intimate, comfortable and highlights Cities97's commitment to being an integral part of the community. Plus, it's always satisfying to know that there are other hard core music geeks out there.
8. Brian, do you have any advice to young people who might want to get into radio?
I believe that it's never been more difficult to make a name for yourself in this business than it is right now. I always encourage would-be broadcasters to attend a four-year university with a great radio station. That way, they have plenty of time to learn all of the facets of what it means to work in radio, but they also have a set of skills and a proper degree to fall back on. I would say that having a Plan B is crucial. That said, this is the greatest job in the world, and, if you really want it, you just have to go for it!
9. Keri, do you have any advice to young people who want to make music their vocation?
If that drive and creativity is already in you, don't let anyone take it away or talk you out of it. You'll just have a lot of "what ifs" to live with. Also, when you're getting started, no gig is too small or unimportant. Practice only goes so far. Getting yourself in front of people is something you can't simulate. You have to just get out there, be willing to fall on your face, and do what you do. More times than not, you'll soar. But the moments you fall are the ones that will make you better.
10. What is the one truth that has held constant throughout your career?
Noble: There is NO substitute for hard work. But, as cliche as it sounds, it's a hell of a lot easier to wake up every day and go to "work," if you love what you do.
Oake: Always be yourself. Entertainment and/or show business is filled with so much that is insincere and superficial, but being genuine will always shine through.